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Is it possible to pay for a house in sterling?

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If you are considering buying privately from a British owner, is it possible to pay for the property in Sterling. I have asked a couple of immobiliers but they say it is only possible to pay in Euros. Obviously the notaire would have his/her fee in Euros but I don't see why the transaction has to be converted if both parties agree to the payment in sterling, yen, beads, beans, livestock whatever.......Anyone have any knowledge of protocol?
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Maybe you and the seller could agree on a  low price to pay in euros in france, lets say 10% of the real cost, then the rest could be paid back in the UK from your bank account to the sellers bank account, plus the seller would pay less CGT on the sale of the property which would save them some money 
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Don't even THINK about doing this - two things would happen immediately

1. Both parties would be arrested for tax fraud and if that didn't stick they would rearrest you for money laundering.

2. The local commune would exercise its right to buy the property at the declared price i.e. 10% and then put it back on the market at 80% of the value.

The practice of paying a percentage of the value 'under the table' is well established and notaires will frequently ask if they should 'leave the room' for a few minutes to allow this to happen - but it is still illegal - may well cost the buyer when they come to sell.

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